Colombian authorities deport outstanding communicator Teri Mattson, preventing her from observing historic elections

By COHA’s Editorial Team
Washington DC
May 23, 2022

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) denounces the detention and deportation of COHA Board Member and CODEPINK Latin America organizer and media host Teri Mattson, who traveled to Bogota to serve as an accredited international observer for the historic May 29th election in Colombia. She had been invited by Colombia’s Permanent Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CPDH). Ms. Mattson, having arrived in Bogota on May 22, was refused entry by Colombian authorities, forced to stay in the airport overnight and deported on May 23 on the absurd grounds that she “represents a risk to the security of the State.”
Ms. Mattson is a person of impeccable integrity and has served on a number of electoral missions to Latin America. COHA maintains that this exclusion of Ms. Mattson is politically motivated and ought to be reversed. As Leonardo Flores of Code Pink notes in a May 23 press release:
“The deportation of an electoral observer should always raise warning flags, and in this case it is particularly alarming given the climate of insecurity throughout Colombia, where there are legitimate fears of a potential assassination, electoral fraud or possible coup. The U.S. State Department must make it clear to its allies in the Colombian government and military that anything other than a clean, safe election and peaceful transition of power will not be accepted by Washington.”
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Progressive leaders in Colombia reject the suspension of the mayor of Medellín

The frontrunner in the upcoming presidential elections, Gustavo Petro, has described the provisional suspension of Mayor Daniel Quintero as a “coup d’état in Medellin.” He has called on the citizens to mobilize in defense of democracy
May 12, 2022
The Colombian Inspector General’s Office, on May 10, suspended the mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, from his position for his alleged political participation in the upcoming presidential elections. The decision provoked a widespread political uproar. Several progressive leaders condemned the decision and accused the Inspector General of siding with the ruling right-wing party and breaking the American Convention on Human Rights that states that an administrative entity cannot suspend an official elected by citizens’ votes.
The Inspector General’s Office suspended Quintero for a video that he published on Twitter on May 10, in which he pushes the gear lever of a car towards first and says “the change in first.” This was interpreted as an expression of endorsement for the candidacy of progressive Gustavo Petro of the left-wing Historic Pact coalition, since “the change in first” is one of the slogans that the Historic Pact is using in its campaign to call on voters to support Petro win the elections in the first round on May 29.
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